“Pure Life” has a sinister meaning to those in Pakistan, whose aquifers are threatened by demand for the bottled water brand of the same name. An alert issued by Sum of Us spells out a classic case of environmental injustice as a major corporation–Nestlé, which owns Pure Life–pads their profits by exploiting the natural resources of a vulnerable population. The alert points to the Pakistani village of Bhati Dilwan, which faces a water table that has sunk by “hundreds of feet” because of Nestlé’s activities. It also mentions problems with water contamination caused by the prospecting and Pakistanis stricken with illness from a spoiled water supply.
Nestlé owns more than 70 percent of bottled water brands in the world according to Bottled Life, a documentary about the company’s bottled water business. The label “Pure Life” is Nestlé’s term for mineral-infused purified groundwater mined in developing countries. When Nestlé sells bottled water from Europe or the United States, it typically markets that fact right on the bottle because these sources are considered more desirable to consumers. But when it takes groundwater from a developing country, it simply uses the “Pure Life” label to obscure the water’s origins. And it works–Pure Life is the best-selling brand of bottled water in the world.
Sum of Us is spearheading a petition to Nestlé demanding that they cease harmful operations in Pakistan. The petition is rapidly approaching its goal of 400,000 signatures.